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Wisconsin work injury: Workplace violence under spotlight

With the rash of workplace shootings occurring across Wisconsin and the nation, workplace safety is becoming a hot topic. Although it is always important, a work injury like this can often be out of the employer's control. However, companies around the area are beginning to focus on the prevention of workplace violence.

Although it is not an issue openly discussed, it is a cause of concern for employers. The FBI Citizen's Academy Alumni Association is in the process of trying to raise awareness of workplace violence in hopes it will encourage employers to take preventative action. Some recent shootings around the nation include a deadly October shooting at a Wisconsin salon.

While such violence is relatively rare, other types of workforce violence can be more common and could result in a serious work injury. Although violent workplace crimes were actually declining, there is still over a million incidents each year. This shows a real need to educate employees on how to handle a situation that can quickly escalate out of control.

Some types of workplace violence can include threats, assaults and even rape. Violence as a whole has actually increased for the first time in two decades, which has led people to believe there could be cause for concern that such violence could spill over into the workplace. One of the major points being brought up is that employers should pay attention to their employee's concerns about 'odd and alarming' behavior from other workers. Threats, although they may seem harmless, should also be taken seriously.

Workplace violence could result in a work injury with permanent ramifications. With such violence occurring in Wisconsin, it may be time for employers to step up their workplace safety practices. Doing so could foster a safer environment for their employees and potentially prevent such violence in the future. Workers' compensation issues inevitably come into play whenever an employee is injured on the job, and those affected by violence in the workplace (including the surviving family of anyone who lost their life) may gain by investigating their rights under our state workers' compensation laws.

Source: MASSLive.com, "Companies focus on preventing workplace violence in wake of shootings in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Manhattan," Jay Fitzgerald, Nov. 12, 2012

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